S-Drive by @AlexChaseWriter @CoffinHop 2013


Hello Travelers,

If you’ve been reading my work thus far, thank you! Your continued readership means more than I can say. Double thank you to all who’ve commented routinely. If this is your first time reading my work, no worries, I love you too. This marks the end of my piece of Coffin Hop 2013, so I’ve decided to go out with a bang.

Today I bring you the opening to a novella I’ve written, and though it’s on the back burner, I do want to revise and publish it, so you won’t be seeing the full story here. In this, I managed to blend all my favorite themes- horror, science fiction, and psychology. You’ll see why I say that…

#

Jack Trelawney leaned against a crumbling brick wall, ignoring how the decades-old dust from the crumbling mortar stained his pea coat, and crossed his arms over his chest. Though he kept his ankles crossed and his head pointed toward the ground, pretending to fall asleep from how little he cared, his eyes darted from Zach Burns to Chuck Rawhide and back to the mouth of the alley in which they hid. He thought about their objective, his fingers gently brushing over the metal plate that covered the USB port embedded in his chest, and idly tapped it twice. Zach and Chuck caught sight of this and nudged each other, knowing their boss needed help coming to a resolution.

“Hey, boss,” Zach said, lumbering over. The man had a perpetual slouch, as if as if he had so much muscle that his skeleton could not support its weight. “Who’s this guy again?” He hoped a little Q&A might jar his boss into action.

“Marcus Smith,” Jack said, straightening up.

Zach’s companion glanced over. “But why do we want him again? For research or something? I thought we had enough test subjects.” While he was much more intelligent than Zach, Chuck had a copy of his personality. To be more accurate, they were both copies of some long forgotten person whose personality had been digitized and filed as ‘security personnel type B.’

A gust of wind shrieked to the alley, ripping at Jack’s coat. He smiled knowing that its sleeves covered the goose bumps that raced along his arms. Neither Zach nor Chuck would have questioned him if he showed weakness, but it still made him uncomfortable to know that he might react to things while they sat still, not appearing to have recognized that the wind had blown. Worse still was that the coldness, the way it seemed to penetrate right through to his heart. It was a constant reminder of the monolithic figure whose shadow he had always lived in and whose height he’d always aspired to reach.

Unbidden, his grandfather’s voice echoed in his head. I know you love him, but he will never understand this. He sold his soul long ago and is no longer capable of understanding what it means to love or have family. You need to live for yourself, not for him.

“That’s classified,” Jack said, shaking his head and levering himself off the wall. “Do you see him?”

“Uh, let me check.” Zach leaned out, then pulled back in and began to nod. Jack waved and they stepped out into the deep orange halo cast by the overhead streetlight. Jack looked at it briefly thought of how it looks like the harvest moon, something he hadn’t seen or even looked for since the night he had to say goodbye to the Melissa he loved several years earlier. He followed his escort team, listening to the clack of his dress shoes on the broken sidewalk echo down the deserted Boulevard.

“Marcus Smith?” Jack’s voice was a little sharper, a little colder than he intended for it to be. Maybe it is just nerves, or maybe he was jealous of the smiling man strolling down the street.

“Jack Trelawney? What are you doing out here?” Marcus began to shake as Jack moved behind him. The trio closing in, causing him to press his back against the front of the boarded up toy shop.

“Nothing much, I just been thinking about the Jericho group and all you’ve done to fight my father’s company over the past few months.” Jack remove something sleek and black from his pocket. It only weighed a few ounces, but it was the heaviest thing he’d ever held, as the weight of all that had ever been done with it was dragging it down into the earth. Or maybe straight into hell.

“Yeah, why? So what?” He lowered his hands, flexing them as his voice steadied.

Jack forced his face to grin despite how unnatural it felt. “It doesn’t matter. What matters is why you’ve done all this work for so many people.”

“Why I help those who you’ve destroyed? I don’t follow – do you have something against those who do what’s right because it’s the right thing to do?”

“That’s just it, Mr. Smith. You work for those who can’t defend themselves — for those who you claim have been destroyed by Personex technologies. For those people who willingly and knowingly abused an otherwise safe process, isn’t that right?” Zach looked at Chuck and began guffawing, but was cut off by a sharp look from Jack, who then closed in on Marcus.  His right hand began to shake so he dug the nails of his left hand into his palm.

“That isn’t quite how I’d phrase him it, but yeah, that’s my goal: to seek restitution for everyone damaged by Personex industries him. What of it? What do you want from me?”

“What do I want?” It was the first time anyone had ever asked him that before, and for an instant, he’d almost forgotten what he was doing there in the first place. He heard his grandfather’s voice in his head again. I know you can be a good person. Promise me you’ll be one someday.

Jack shook his head and bit back a sudden sting of tears. Marcus opened his mouth to question him again but Jack stepped forward and, with the soft snick of a blade, sliced away the fabric of Marcus shirt, leaving a thin red line across his chest. Marcus was too surprised to feel the pain and realized too late that his assailant had plunged a Drive into the USB port in his chest. It began to hum as Jack pressed the download button, leeching out Marcus’s personality. The thin black strip was soon filled with glowing bluish white light while Marcus his left with a cold desolation that seemed to radiate further with every pulse of his shuddering heart. Unable to fight the process, he sank to his knees as he gradually stopped noticing the cold air around him, the screaming gale that rushed between the buildings, and the fact that he was being attacked. Soon he was no more afraid of the men in front of him as a fish is afraid of water. There was nothing left of him but memory, a name, and organs. A human in theory but not an application.

Jack remove the Drive from Marcus his chest. “Thank you for your donation to Personex Industries. I’ll be sure to put your personality to good use.” The trio walked away, but Jack stole one last glance at the man they were leaving behind, the scraps of his torn shirt blowing in the wind.

***

Walk with me from October 24-31 as I post some of my work in honor of Coffin Hop 2013. Some of this is quite old, some of it not–guess which is which, Traveler. Perhaps a right answer will earn a stroke of fortune for you…

For this tour, I’ll be giving away one signed anthology in which a story of mine has been featured. Which anthology is up to the winner. Keep in mind, I reserve the right to award additional gifts as per Coffin Hop rules. Who knows–if I get a lot of hits, you might see a lot of rewards in the future. Be sure to click the badge at the side of my page and visit the other Hoppers!

Ashes to Ashes by @AlexChaseWriter @CoffinHop 2013


Hello Travelers,

This story is far too long to have posted here; it simply wouldn’t have been fair to you or the other Hoppers to expect you to read it. I’ll clue you in to the fact that this is an apocalyptic piece with some obvious subgenre work going on. Enjoy, my friends…

#

Dr. Calvin Dent rested his chin on his elbow and stared through the window at the front of Marie’s Coffee Emporium. It was a quaint little shop known for serving half-priced drinks to college students and weekly poetry slams, affordable and atmospheric, but not so much so that it would seem cheap or overpowering.

He watched vehicle after vehicle pass by without so much as slowing, then bit his lip and whipped out his phone. It was 9:20 in the morning, an early time for her, so she was probably running late. More importantly, it was her, so she might not show up at all.

Then she did. Jewel Alvarez stepped out of a beaten-up taxi and onto the cracked sidewalk. It had been two years, but he’d recognize her anywhere. Her light brown hair was stacked in a bun, but she’d left just enough free to frame her angular face. She had sunglasses on, even though the coffee shop’s side of the street was shaded. Though now into her mid-thirties, her body retained the lithe shape she’d developed in her youth, partially because she was athletic but also because she would often get so wrapped up in her work that she’d forget to eat. Jewel was the type of girl some men spent their lives dying for: shapely, exotic and out of their league.

Calvin enviously wished he could say the same. Though not particularly heavy, he had no muscle to speak of. His skin had a pasty hue from having spent the majority of his life inside. Add glasses to the mix and you’ve got the spitting image of a man whose mind was his greatest- and only- weapon. He wore a light jacket over a long-sleeved shirt, despite the temperate weather. No one had any idea how he’d managed to wind up with Jewel in the first place- he was almost certain he couldn’t pull that trick off a second time, but he was ready to try.

The tinkling of a bell announced her entry. She spied him and walked over. Jewel was dressed in her signature paint-stained jeans and a black t-shirt. Calvin had already pulled her chair out prior to her arrival. She smiled and removed her sunglasses as she sat across from him.

“Hello, Calvin.” Her voice was by no means melodious, but he could listen to it for hours.

“Hi, Jewel.” He realized with abject horror that he had no idea how to conduct such a meeting and fumbled for something to say.

“Thanks for the coffee,” she said, wrapping her hands around the steaming cup in front of her.

“N-no problem,” he chuckled nervously. “Do you still take it the same way you used to?” He paused, then stammered, “No! I mean, take your coffee? Do you like, you know, two creams, one sugar, in your drink, like before?”

She laughed as he blushed. “Yes, I still like it just like I used to.”

“Oh, good!” He breathed a sigh of relief. “Some things never change, huh?”

They stared at each other for a dangerous minute. For a moment, Calvin was sure she’d get up and walk off. He’d come on too strong, he was sure of it. He hadn’t meant to, but some things just slip out. Then again, she wouldn’t have met with him if she didn’t have SOME kind of feeling for him, right? But even so-

“Yeah, some things don’t.” Her voice was almost quiet enough to hide her feelings- but not quiet enough. “…I’m… glad you called, Calvin.”

He gave a half-smile. “I am too. …I guess I have trouble letting go, huh?”

“Sometimes, it’s ok to not let go,” She laid her hand on his, her thumb gently stroking the top of his palm. “How’s work been going?”

“It’s… oh, you know… space. It doesn’t change much, so… Well, actually, the sun has been giving off some strange readings lately, but we’re not sure what they mean yet.”

“Really?” She arched her brow and, to his shock, seemed genuinely interested. “I’d love to hear more.”

“I’d love to tell you,” he stared into the pools of amber and, like a prehistoric mosquito, found himself trapped by their depths. “How… is work, for you?” he managed to whisper. Her perfect lips curved up in an all-too-recognizable expression. Whenever something really, seriously great was happening, her face would inexorably shift to show off an impish grin.

“I’ve actually published two books: my first is on painting with ash, the second is on the human body as a canvas for artistic expression.”

“Painting with ash?” he tilted his head.

“Ash is… often overlooked. It is uniquely beautiful; it’s the remains of something that has perished in flame, but isn’t really a symbol of destruction. It’s a symbol of making way for something new, something greater, that will soon come to be. It’s like with forest fires; those fires only occur so new life can spring up in their wake.”

***

Walk with me from October 24-31 as I post some of my work in honor of Coffin Hop 2013. Some of this is quite old, some of it not–guess which is which, Traveler. Perhaps a right answer will earn a stroke of fortune for you…

For this tour, I’ll be giving away one signed anthology in which a story of mine has been featured. Which anthology is up to the winner. Keep in mind, I reserve the right to award additional gifts as per Coffin Hop rules. Who knows–if I get a lot of hits, you might see a lot of rewards in the future. Be sure to click the badge at the side of my page and visit the other Hoppers!

“The Dragonfly Story” by @AlexChaseWriter @CoffinHop 2013


Hello Travelers,

I wrote this… I’ll be honest, I have no idea when I wrote this or what my intention for it was. The piece is unfinished, but I was so enamored with some of what I’ve said here that, if I get enough positive feedback, I’ll be sure to finish it. Luckily, my past self left me one enigmatic hint by saving this as “The Dragonfly Story.” I don’t know what that means, but, enjoy this snippet, Friends.

#

Few humans are ever blessed with knowing what a gift their body is. Most only gain such an appreciation after they’ve lost a part of it. I am no exception

If anyone had attempted to tell me how strange my life would become, I would have laughed aloud and called the police to report an escaped mental patient. If I had been told a mere twenty-four hours ago that I would become like this, I would’ve had the same reaction.

My story begins, I suppose, with an event so mundane that it stands in stark and shocking juxtaposition to the details that are to follow. Almost one year ago, I was riding the bus, which usually took me from my apartment to a stop less than a block from my office at Lexington and West, LLC., when it missed a regular turn and meandered into a less savory part of town.

I pulled the cable to signal that I needed to leave only to find that the driver was new and was not aware of what such a signal meant. I approached the driver and explained the situation; he was courteous enough to stop the bus and kick me out while only shouting a few mild expletives at me.

My boss, Joel Lexington, didn’t seem to care that the error wasn’t mine. According to him, the fact that I had only graduated law school a few months prior meant that I was easily replaced. I hung up in the sad, slow manner of one whose only options are to accept defeat graciously or rebel like a child who tries not to sleep. I sighed, knowing how futile it would be to fight to regain my position.

Though I considered myself a local, I had no knowledge of where I was. I escaped the blistering heat of the sun by vanishing into a nearby Starbucks. I took one look at the woman by the counter and forgot my woes.

I do not know if it was love, but I do know I was utterly captivated. She had the eyes of a wolf– smooth and beautiful yet fierce and unrelenting. I couldn’t look away. My heart began to throb erratically as her gaze fell upon me. I prayed that I would die in that instant so that I could say I passed while looking upon the most beautiful sight in the world.

She noticed me and, upon realizing that I’d been entranced by her beauty, smiled. It was a smile of gentle violence, of a complete, actualized nihilism. It was so beautiful, yet so broken. It startled me to find that she was beautiful because she was broken, as if her mistakes and flaws were greater than the virtue and grace of any other being.

***

Walk with me from October 24-31 as I post some of my work in honor of Coffin Hop 2013. Some of this is quite old, some of it not–guess which is which, Traveler. Perhaps a right answer will earn a stroke of fortune for you…

For this tour, I’ll be giving away one signed anthology in which a story of mine has been featured. Which anthology is up to the winner. Keep in mind, I reserve the right to award additional gifts as per Coffin Hop rules. Who knows–if I get a lot of hits, you might see a lot of rewards in the future. Be sure to click the badge at the side of my page and visit the other Hoppers!

STAKE by Alex Chase @CoffinHop 2013


Hello Travelers,

Today I bring you a particularly old piece of mine. I haven’t edited it, because I want to preserve, how shall we say, the antiquity of the piece. While it was given a few small awards through http://www.writing.com in the past, I’ve never officially published it and had no pressing urge to do so. So, without further ado, here is the entirety of STAKE.

###

Joe Daniels prepared himself for the coming battles. He was finally prepared to lead the Strike Team Against Killer Entities troop through New York City. He and his troops had done heavy weight training and cardiovascular exercise to train their bodies to fight the supernatural killers known as Vampires. They had seen many humans mysteriously disappear, and every so often, one was found, drained of all blood. The local vampires insisted they had nothing to do with these incidents, but Joe knew better.

Inspired by the infestation of the undead beasts, Joe had taken the precaution of ordering several thermal-imaging lenses some time ago, so that he could tell who was human and who was not. However, this had not been enough, so he ordered silver chains, holy water and guns that could fire miniature stakes. With these, he turned to his closest friends and formed the STAKE.

With thermal imaging equipment and high-powered, anti-vampire weaponry, he was ready to lead his small group through the night and smite the undead scum, just as God should’ve done when they died the first time.

“Ready men? Move out! Tonight, they will feel true death!” His troop swarmed out of his home and into the blackest of nights…

***

Clarissa walked casually down the moonlit streets, the light illuminating her ivory skin, her full lips contrasting with a deep red lipstick. She had a slight smile tugging at her lips, knowing the reaction people would have when they saw her blood colored eyes. A choker encircled her neck, a cross of Gothic design hanging upon it.

She looked up at the sky and let out a sigh of pleasure. She loved how she lived, without the hustle and bustle of day life. The city calmed down at night. Well, except at the clubs, of course, which she frequented often. The cool wind whipped around her, brushing over her skin. She never wore a coat, mainly because she didn’t ever feel she had to. She didn’t feel the cold like most would’ve. Clarissa had grown accustomed to this life, and would not have it any other way.

For the most part, trouble avoided her, and she avoided it. She never deliberately harmed anyone, despite what she did to live. It just came naturally to her, and she always regretted when her actions hurt people. But tonight, as always, she set out to do things all over again. In the end, she never really had any pity on her victims. Some would even say she was heartless.

Her silent saunter brought her down street after street, ever closer to her destination. She passed by alleys, restaurants and Broadway theaters. The calls of the night were music to here ears, and she was eager to partake in the action that could be happening tonight. She moved faster, feeling the vibrant pulse of energized life within the clubs. She had a specific one in mind tonight, and would not allow herself to be distracted.

Suddenly, a thick hand wrapped over her mouth, yanking her to the side and slamming her into a nearby wall, her head colliding with brick. She cried out as a thick chain of pure silver wrapped tightly around her throat, rough edges grating over her skin. Her throat burned as the chain began to suffocate her.

“How are you doing, freak?” A man leaned down, and though a strange device covered his eyes and forehead, disabling her ability to see his eyes, it appeared as though he was glaring. She could feel his hot breath wash over her.

“What…?” She tried to gasp out through the choking sensation. She could barely breath. Her heart leapt into her throat as she looked at the burly forms of her attackers. Her dark eyes were wide with terror.

“That’s right, we’re finally rising up against you. You scum drain our citizens, kill our families, defile our holy grounds, and then you all have the nerve to ask to become citizens yourselves? We’re the STAKE, and you’re the undead quarry.” He spat upon her cheek as someone else tightened another link of silver around her wrists, tying it even tighter as she cried and begged for release. The metal ground hard against her flesh and a sob began to rise in her throat. One man stood on each side of her, holding her arms tight so she couldn’t even try to move.

The man who spoke earlier appeared to be their leader, and he brought his hand back, striking her across the face with his knuckles. There was a crack, and he grimaced, shaking his hand as she shrieked, her face dripping blood.

“Damn, I hate you freaks! I can’t even hit you without being hurt myself,” he groaned. “I’m just glad I wore these pure silver rings.” Clarissa caught the gleaming of at least four rings upon his fingers, but her vision swam. She was slowly getting weaker as the silver pulled tighter.

“Please… let…me go!” The burning in her throat was slowly getting worse as she felt herself slipping away.

“Let you go? Why should I let a monster like you roam free to kill my kind?” He looked down at her pallid skin; her glistening crimson eyes were wide with terror. She tried to croak out a response, but she could not. Clarissa’s pouting lips quivered with fear. She had never known this fear and danger before.

“Don’t try to deny that you’re a vampire. I can see your skin is cold, and even if I couldn’t, your eyes are as red as the blood you drink!”

But it’s cold outside… how would he know if it weren’t just from the wind? Clarissa thought.

“Don’t worry, blood sucker. I’m giving you what you deserve.” He pulled a long wooden stake from his jacket pocket. She screamed and flailed against her captors, but it was no use. The man kicked her to the ground, and Clarissa let out one last cry as he slammed the wooden shaft into her chest. She collapsed, her body convulsing one last time as blood flowed from her open mouth.

The STAKE team cheered and whooped over their victory. The girl was motionless, her pale skin seeming luminescent in the moonlight. Joe Daniels meandered to the nearest pay phone and told the police about their kill. The woman on the other end informed Joe that the Chief of Police would arrive shortly- and he did.

As the officers stepped out of their car, STAKE continued in their revelry. Joyous cries echoed down the street as the police investigated the scene. They loudly wondered if they’d be rewarded for each kill. The men were still celebrating when their arms were yanked behind their back and handcuffs were slapped onto their wrists. They protested with confusion and outrage as they were thrust into the police cruisers.

“Hey, what are you doing? We’re heroes! We killed one of those undead scum, why are you arresting us?” Joe yelled.

“She wasn’t an undead.” The chief grunted, slamming the door shut.

“What? That… that’s impossible! You’re a liar! You’re supporting vampires you piece of…” His cries faded from earshot as the cruiser pulled away.

Unfortunately for Clarissa, she had not been a vampire. She was a journalist for the New York Times, and she covered the nightlife in their culture section. She was normally found dressing up and prowling the night in search of the newest and hottest clubs and late-night eateries, and was known for scathing and ‘heartless’ reviews. Clarissa naturally broke out in hives at contact with silver, but regardless, the chains had been pulled so tight that her trachea was crushed. She had dressed in such dark garb to get into a new, heavy metal club for the paper. By night, she could be anything or anyone she wanted to be if it got her into the clubs. By day, she was a loving wife and mother of two, and had never hurt a soul in her life.

Now, Clarissa Burnside was lifeless on the sidewalk, her blood-red contacts still in place as the police finished the investigation. The dark lipstick hid the fact that her lips were turning blue, and her skin was notably more tan when brought out of the moonlight. Her skin was now truly as cold as ice, and her heart would forever remain as motionless as STAKE had thought it to be.

***

Walk with me over the coming week as I post some of my work in honor of Coffin Hop 2013. Some of this is quite old, some of it not–guess which is which, Traveler. Perhaps a right answer will earn a stroke of fortune for you…

For this tour, I’ll be giving away one signed anthology in which a story of mine has been featured. Which anthology is up to the winner. Keep in mind, I reserve the right to award additional gifts as per Coffin Hop rules. Who knows–if I get a lot of hits, you might see a lot of rewards in the future. Be sure to click the badge at the side of my page and visit the other Hoppers!

The Silence in my Smile @CoffinHop


Hello Travelers,

Today I bring you an excerpt of a story I wrote, the full length of which is roughly 2,500 words. I won’t be including the full text because I don’t want you to spend all your time here. Go, frolic among the other Coffin Hop participants once you’ve finished. If you want me to post the full story, scream your desires in the comment section. Or, if someone would be kind enough to extend a publication offer…

Without adieu, here is The Silence in my Smile.

***

It was a night like any other for me. I wandered the dark streets, with so many homes filled with families that were not aware of my presence, cold and alone. Not a single house light could be seen, but after all, 2 A.M. was not an hour in which most people were awake. The night sky was black and the darkness unbroken, except by a few defiant stars. The frigid wind blew through my chest, but no cold nor isolation could ever compare to the hollow emptiness inside me.

On more than one occasion, my friends had attempted to pry me from my shell with invitations to parties, drinking games at the local bar, or other such menial delights. On all occasions, I responded in the negative. One of my few remaining friends, Donovan, brought me aside on such a night.

“Look, I know you’re hurt. I know that you must be going through some really dark times, but you have to get out and live just a little.”

“Why should I?”

“You don’t do anything anymore, and we haven’t even seen you smile. We would know you’re okay if you could just give us one damn smile. It’s rough seeing such a great guy so miserable.”

Well what did they know? I stalked through the night like a wounded animal- desperate for attention, yet ready to snap at anyone who came close. I soon noticed I was coming close to my street, Darnell Court. I didn’t want to return home yet, so I took the sharp left onto Way Street, as if ready to face the creeping memory of death. I tried hard to repress the memories that ripped at my mind, so I shook my head and continued my somber sauntering.

Unfortunately for me, I soon happened upon the town park. I stopped by a thick birch tree, my head suddenly swimming as memories flooded my mind. I fought this, but I could not stop the cruel images from playing in my mind. The colors and sounds mocked me with their unrelenting progression.

I saw the same park, only it was day time. I remembered this scene from just a few months ago; I was pushing my dearest daughter, Emily, on the swings. She had a bright yellow sundress on, and her soft voice was laughing with childish delight. She begged me to push her higher and higher, and soon leapt from the swing, sailing across the play set and landing triumphantly. I couldn’t help but admire her brave spirit. She was always trying to prove she was as mature and as bold as any adult. Sometimes, she actually was, and would prove her bravado despite any danger it might pose to her.

Turning on her feet, she ran suddenly and jumped back onto the swing. Using it like a fulcrum, she swung and jumped once more, this time tackling my chest. I laughed, stumbling, but caught her. She had wrapped her arms tightly around my torso, her narrow arms squeezing tight.

“I love you, daddy!”

That was it. My heart once again shook with pain; my body tensed as I struggled to hold back tears. How cruel must nature be, that I am always reminded of how badly I have suffered? I wrapped my arms tight around myself, praying the other memories would not return as I sprinted for home, unwilling to walk Memory Lane any longer.

My footsteps were loud, echoing through the streets, but I did not care. I shut my eyes, but behind them I saw the darkness in even greater detail. All I could think of was getting home before any other thoughts chose to break my heart again. It almost worked, but I had the growing sense that I could not outrun the pain of my past. I sprinted fast, then faster still, nearly breaking down my door as I slammed into it, but the memory returned regardless.

It had been another bright and warm day. The sun shone brilliantly, with warm air gusting through the streets. Birds chirped merrily, and I smiled up at the pleasant day. Emily and my wife, Elizabeth, had just been out to the supermarket. I couldn’t wait to see them, even though they’d only been gone a short time. I loved them both, and Emily was the spitting image of her mother. They both had wavy, golden hair, a smooth complexion, and an honest, kind, but witty personality. I once remarked that Paradise had nothing on those two.

I waited on my front steps to help them bring the groceries in. I squinted down the road and saw their car driving up Way Street. The bright blue paint sparkled in the sunlight, and I could just make out Emily’s smile from the other side of the windshield. I smiled, stood, and waved to them. I saw Elizabeth laugh as Emily waved back. The joyous expressions were still in place when a black sedan crumpled the driver’s side of their car.

***

Walk with me over the coming week as I post some of my work in honor of Coffin Hop 2013. Some of this is quite old, some of it not–guess which is which, Traveler. Perhaps a right answer will earn a stroke of fortune for you…

For this tour, I’ll be giving away one signed anthology in which a story of mine has been featured. Which anthology is up to the winner. Keep in mind, I reserve the right to award additional gifts as per Coffin Hop rules. Who knows–if I get a lot of hits, you might see a lot of rewards in the future. Be sure to click the badge at the side of my page and visit the other Hoppers!

Find me @CoffinHop 2013!


Hello Travelers,

I know it’s been quite some time, and I blame school for that, but I’m back with news that I’m participating in Coffin Hop over the coming 8 days. Each day, I’ll be posting an excerpt of previously written work, some of which I wrote when quite young, and giving a variety of prizes throughout.

What prizes, you ask? Well, because I’m broke, I can’t give away much physical merchandise, but here’s the breakdown:

(You may notice this section has changed; as per some advice I was given by several previous coffin hoppers, I’ve opted to change this section)

Regrettably, I will be giving away one prize, due entirely to the fact that I am broke. One lucky winner, chosen from everyone who comments on my posts throughout the entire week of coffin hop, will receive a signed anthology of his or her choice (out of those I’ve published in, of course). I could give out a variety of eBooks, but I’d rather give one special gift.

There you have it, folks. I hope to hear a lot from you all very soon.

Farewell, friends,

A. Chase

Regret


Hello Travelers,

Earlier today I had the pleasure of reading a post on Regret. I recommend you check it out, because it’s quite insightful, and even though I’m about to talk about regret too, I’ll never tell you that I have all the answers or that you’re better off following my path than someone else’s.

But as far as I’m concerned, I have few regrets. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made a lot of mistakes, and I’m bound to make a lot more, but so far, I can name on one hand the times where I look back and say, “I shouldn’t have done this.”

The fact is that if you’re sitting here today as an accomplished professional in any field, you’re here both in spite and because of those mistakes. If you’re wishing that you had done more, then that’s because your mistakes have taught you you’re capable of a lot that you haven’t done yet. Either way, it’s never too late to start (or continue) down the road you’ve always dreamt of walking.

Take me, for example. Five years ago, I was utterly alone, clinically depressed, and trapped in an abusive relationship. I wrote for myself, in what spare time I had, and even though I always said to myself, “I want to be a writer,” I never got around to actually trying to be one.

A little over one year ago, I sat back in my chair and thought, “What a life I’ve lead, and who knows about it? What have I got to show for all that I’ve been through? Those naysayers who said I wouldn’t be a writer… am I going to sit back and let myself prove them right?”

So I began seeking publishing. Before I continue: if you’re just setting out as a writer and have yet to receive any acceptances, keep in mind that my story, while a little more common now in the days of the independent press, is still rare.

It only took me a few weeks for one particularly great publication company to write me back and say, “You know what? We liked this piece and want it in our August ezine” (Not an exact quote, but that’s the spirit of it). Since then I’ve published over a dozen short stories, am working to revise my first novel (which has a tentative “Yes pending revisions” for publishing), am currently writing my second (and more shorts in the down time) and that’s not to mention what editing work I do here and there.

I do, to put it simply, a damn lot of things. I have an advantage of not really having a job, so I do have a lot more time than many, but even an hour of writing a day will eventually yield a novel.

I may go through periods of moody rumination over what I’ve done or let people do to me, but looking back on my past year- on the decisions I’ve made for myself, on the things I’ve done that I know were right- I’ve turned those mistakes into fuel. I’ve made every wrong decision worth it.

I’ve made every wrong decision right.

So remember, Travelers, that life really is what you make of it. No matter how twisted it is, you can always prove the master of the path you take (and all that walking is great exercise). You can’t always choose not to make a mistake, but you can choose not to regret.

Make the most of what you have, because being miserable isn’t going to make things any better.

May the wind be at your back,

A. Chase